Friday, April 25, 2008

Fierce Friday: Running The Race

by Karen D. Swim

I waved to my hubby and set off to line up for my very first marathon. It was a nice LA morning in March and I could tell it would be a warm day. I found the starting area and excitedly took my place. It was getting close to starting time and a guy around my age fell in step next to me. He smiled and we exchanged greetings.

He asked, "Is this your first marathon?" "Yea, how about you?" With a smile of accomplishment he answered, "this is my second I ran Honolulu in December with the Arthritis Foundation and this time I'm raising money for the AIDS Foundation." "Wow, that's really great." "How long did you train?," he asked. "I've been training for 2 1/2 whole months!" With his head slightly cocked and a sympathetic look, he responded, "Our training program was 6 months." "Six months?!"

He looked at me as though searching for something, "Where's your water bottle?" "Oh, I read they would have water here." "Well, they will at every mile but it's good to have your own. Did you bring GU?" Wrinkling my nose, I responded, "GU, what's that? I brought was my cell phone and lip gloss."

"What pace are you running?" he asked with a hint of rising panic. "Pace? Well we told my friends that we would meet them for breakfast." With a sympathetic look, he hugged me, "Just run with me honey, I'll take care of you."

The stranger stayed with me for the first 7-8 miles talking and offering tips. We were separated by the massive crowd of 20,000 runners when I spotted my husband in the crowd and ran toward the sidelines to report my progress. Luckily that day I encountered many other kind souls who helped me as I prodded toward the finish line.

"It takes a community to maintain a human." --Earon Davis, Gaia Community

I discovered that as you're running your own race you don't have to run alone. As you pursue your goal there will always be people who are willing to help. Some may be at the starting line like you and others may have run the same race many times. Some will run with you for a mile or two, some may get you to the halfway point and others may run with you the whole way.

Here at Words For Hire, Fridays have been designated "Fierce Friday" which we celebrate by giving a shout out to fierce people who inspire, encourage and motivate. On this fierce Friday, I'd like to thank those that have run with me thus far on this writing / blogging journey.

Joanna Young has been a mentor, writing coach and friend. Through Joanna I met Amy Palko, who has become a special friend that always has a healthy dose of encouragement and a square of chocolate.

Joanna also introduced me to Yvonne Russell who graciously extended the opportunity to to write my very first guest post. I met Ellen Wilson as we navigated Elance. She is smart, funny, honest and has become a great friend that inspires me to stay on goal. The Men With Pens have not only offered personal support, and helpful hints but they have graciously shared their community of friends.

As you run your race, you are not alone. Whatever your pursuit I guarantee others will run with you. And of course, you can always come here for a word of encouragement or hearty cheer.

How about you, who have you met as you were running you race? What impact did that have on you?


Anonymous said...


I ran my first( And only so far, but more to follow)Marathon in Columbus, Ohioin 2003. I am slow as they go, but the friends I met along the way are still my friends today,

Amy Palko has been an inspiration to me since I started blogging and just following her blogroll was the best idea I ever had!
Then Brett LeGree was the next to befriend me and I quickly learned that we seem to have the same taste in people, so I have met some wonderful people through him,which is how I found you!

It's a small-ish community, but full of great and helpfull people.

I love your Friday idea.
I do smething similiar on the Weekends called the Weekend wrap up.

Anonymous said...


Ok, why I wrote Ellen when I knew it was your site I was on?????...Sorry about that!just shoot me now if my whole day is going to be like this.

So far I have only had four hours of sleep because my husband is in another time zone and I stayed up to skype with him last night.I am dangerous when I haven't had enough sleep.
there will be naps in my future tday.

ellen wilson said...

Yea! Fierce Friday! This is a great story, Karen. I love the lipgloss comment.

I've encountered as many people willing to help me out as I have people willing to drag me down. You can learn from both groups of people.

Of course I started running with a few people, and then more, and them more...kind of like Forest Gumps we are.

But I think you are in the lead, Karen, so I will follow you. Thanks for everything. E

Ellen Wilson said...

I just re-read Wendi's comment. Ha! Too little sleep and too much jumping around the sphere, huh? Either that or Karen and I are morphing into eachother. Like Brett and Friar, or Men with Pens?

Words For Hire said...

@ Wendi, ROFL! I am tired today too so here's the scary part, didn't even notice the name error. Oh man, we are in for an interesting Friday! I agree with you about the community in the blogosphere, and that was an unanticipated benefit. I am so glad we found each other and will definitely be checking out Weekend Wrap up and your posts during the week. Hoping for a good day for you Wendi!

@Ellen, only a total ding dong would show up to run 26.2 miles with nothing more than lipgloss and a cell phone. In my defense, I figured that there was no way I could win (yea, yea I thought normal people could win)but I could at least good for the photos. And the cell phone was to keep in contact with my hubby. I agree with you about the Gump pack. It's a good group and we keep attracting more good people. I'm happy to gump along with the rest of you. ;-)

Ellen Wilson said...

I'm doing the RSS burn today. Can you add RSS comments to your blog? Or no?

Words For Hire said...

@Ellen, our community is truly a family we probably don't know where we are half the time! LOL! I don't think I add RSS comments, but I'll check. Soon, soon, I will be moved. Are you doing the RSS contest thingy?

Anonymous said...

Lipgloss to a marathon? I knew we were friends for a reason ;-) At least you didn't wear your kitten heels!
Seriously though, running alongside me is a huge network of supportive family and friends both online and off. I am exceptionally lucky in this respect and I count my blessings every day. Perhaps it's because of the support I receive, that I make a point of passing it on to others. I love encouraging those close to me, helping them on their way to where they want to be, picking them up when they've fallen down, cheering enthusiastically on those days when they feel they'd rather not go on, and celebrating wildly when they've reached their destination. After all, support should always be a two-way street, don't you think?

Joanna said...

Karen, I've really enjoyed this series. You're onto a winner with this format methinks!

And I love the post. I too am blessed with a wonderful network of online supporters and friends, who've helped me so much as I change, transform, my life from what it was before to what it is now.

Every day I meet someone new who says something that changes the way I think and feel for the better. Wendi did that for me yesterday, and her words stayed with me all day.

Amy is a treasure and I am so lucky that she lives close enough that we can meet and chat in person.

And you Karen, well you are probably my number 1 cheerleader. Your comments on my own blog are so positive and constructive, they keep me going. Blogging is tiring, draining at times, and there have been many mornings when I've refound my motivation by reading something you've written.

Thought I'd better tell you in case you didn't know!

Can't wait to meet you in person


James Chartrand - Men with Pens said...

Aw, you're sweet. And you broke a rule for us, I hear? Very cool. Rule are made to be broken.

And races are made to be run.

Words For Hire said...

@ Amy, lol! You're right Amy. I think you can pull off anything with the right shade of lipgloss, and a little square of chocolate. :) Your point about support being two way is absolutely right. You and I (and so many others here) share a love of celebrating others. You can also pay it forward by reaching out to others as the kind runners did for me while running my race. Don't you think we've found ourselves in a community of givers for that very reason?

@Joanna, thank you so much for your encouragement! Brett mentioned earlier that hearing we've touched others inspires us to keep moving forward. I agree with him. I am overjoyed that I have been able to encourage you. It gives me strength on those days when I too feel drained and uninspired. I am really looking forward to Chicago and have been chattering on about it to everyone who would listen. :-) See you next week, yay!

@James, I'd break a million rules for you and Harry! :-) You two have been so gracious and giving. Everywhere I go across the blogosphere there you are supporting your others. Not only have you managed to create a great community on your blog but you have extended that community to everyone else. A shout out is the very least I could offer.

Yvonne Russell said...

Hi Karen
What an inspirational post.

It's been a joy getting to know you as you seem to spread positivity wherever you go.

Words For Hire said...

Hi Yvonne! Thanks for stopping in and commenting! I feel the same way about you and am grateful to be a part of your community. You, Joanna, Amy and so many others truly contribute to the joy of blogging! I am looking forward to continued friendship, chats and great things. :-)


Roland Hesz said...

I have never ran a marathon. I admittedly don't like to run - I was a good at running, but never liked it - although of course I have to at training.

One thing is certain, that running alone is awful. In company, well, I
would not say it is a pleasure, but it is way better. Funny thing, most
of the time someone will join you, unless you radiate the wish to be
left alone.

Same with life. It's not a secret that I am looking for a new job, in a new country, and I say that counts as a pretty big marathon, especially since I try to run it alone.

But then suddenly life throws people in my way, people who are willing to help, without even knowing me for real - and there is a huge "Thank You !" going to you, Karen -, helping with some paperwork, cheering me on, digging up old acquaintances, then it turns out that the boyfriend of the woman who wants to sell me some saving funds has a trailer in England, and although he does not know me at all, he is willing to lend it if I need it.

I have a friend, we have met on MSN in 2000, and have not met in person
until last September, when he invited me to his wedding. He has the line "Cuando una persona desea realmente algo, el Universo entero conspira para que pueda realizar su sueno." on his MSN profile, which translates to "When someone really wants something, the whole Universe will conspire so he could fulfill his dream". Or something like that :) And it seems really true.

Running alone is possible, but to me it seems that Life makes it
difficult in the sense that it will throw a convenient companion in
your way ever couple of steps and you have to be really clever to miss them all. All you have to do is watching for opportunities which will be there.

--Deb said...

I chuckled at the lipgloss, too--it's important to look your best! But, really, kudos for running the marathon, which is something I simply cannot imagine ever doing. I'm impressed!

Words For Hire said...

Hi Deb! Later I joined a running group and they thought the lipgloss was hysterical, but lipgloss is an essential in my book! ;-) I'm so glad that you stopped by. Reading your message reminded me that on most days I do actually have the capability to put one foot in front of the other. Today, I have the energy of a flea and your comment gave me a mental boost! I tend to think of any big goal as a marathon, don't you? I mean not everyone will have a sports goal but those other goals are no less important and require the same effort to accomplish. Thanks for stopping by Deb and giving me a much needed mental lift. ;-)